“Working All Day”: one of the best, most overlooked, early era Gentle Giant songs... Who’s with me?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by ParloFax, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

    My favorite song from the “Three Friends” album and my earworm of the week... After all these years of being so familiar with this track, I am still thrilled and moved by it, and fascinated by its construction and production.

    The tune is almost like a work chant. I especially love the funky ol’ sax chorus (bass, or baritone pitched down to bass?) and the evocative, image-conveying instrumental section in 6/8, built as a three-part cycle – I lack the vocabulary here... With that melancholic alto sax riff in the distance, balanced as it is in the response from the grinding bass sax... And the whirling organ soloing along the day’s toil in the dusty afternoon... Then the verse comes rocking back again, giving way finally to the sleepy redemption of the little lullaby from the introduction.

    I just might be reading way too much into this, but it’s kind of perfect program music to me, the likes of which you don’t hear very often in rock... I wonder if it was intended that way, to tell a little story?

    What do you say, Gentle Giant fans?
    Frankh and dennis the menace like this.
  2. Galeans

    Galeans Forum Resident

    I'm with you. The organ solo is one of my favorite moments on the whole discography.
    dennis the menace and ParloFax like this.
  3. It's good, but for me nothing beats the title track!
  4. Scott in DC

    Scott in DC Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    School Days is the best song on this fine album.

  5. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

    It's magnificient! But more single-dimensional in a way, while WAD has several aspects going for it for me.

    But setting aside the title piece for me was tough, as it has the most beautifully long melody!
    prognastycator likes this.
  6. It's one of their most under appreciated albums.
    ParloFax likes this.
  7. Sevenkims

    Sevenkims Well-Known Member

    Austin TX
    Great one. Yes, I also think that much thought and arrangement went into it. As with most Gentle Giant music. The way they developed themes in different keys, tempos and time signatures sometimes makes them unnoticeable until, after years of listening, you realize themes taking brilliantly different forms. A very special band.
  8. dennis the menace

    dennis the menace Forum Resident

    Three Friends is one of their most balanced album where every song is so good it becomes almost impossible to choose one over the others. It's also the album where the genius of Kerry Minnear takes off, announcing the soon to come "changing of the guards" with the departure of Phil Shulman after the next album. It's full of great GG moments: Schooldays, Working All Day, Peeling The Paint, Mr. Class and Quality. Essential.
    Isaac McHelicopter likes this.
  9. Frankh

    Frankh Lucky Man

    Schenectady NY
    Absolutely! Always a favorite of mine.

    The section immediately preceding the organ solo, about 8 bars. Mechanical sounding, repetitive but beautiful. After one run through the whole thing ups a fifth, but the bass drops down!

    Gives me shivers every time. The sheer originality!

    Such a groove heavy tune. Yep, love it. Adore it. Always have, always will.

    Glad I am to read and hear I am not alone.
    ParloFax likes this.
  10. MikeManaic61

    MikeManaic61 Forum Resident

    Three Friends album is their best imo. Working All Day is a treat to the ear.
    ParloFax likes this.
  11. kaztor

    kaztor Forum Resident

    Love it. Very King Crimson/Van Der Graaf-esque instrumental break it has.
    ParloFax likes this.
  12. no.nine

    no.nine (not his real name)

    My overriding memory of "Working All Day" is the fade out in the middle of the song as it was on the pre-recorded cassette I originally had of this release. I can still almost hear it in my head every time I play the album.

    altaeria and dennis the menace like this.
  13. duneman

    duneman Forum Resident

    Its a classic all right, that and Mr. Class are highlights for me.
  14. kaztor

    kaztor Forum Resident


    I could even sequence tapes better when I was like 9 years old!
    no.nine likes this.
  15. OnTheRoad

    OnTheRoad Forum Resident

    Oh goodness....I don't know where to begin with Gentle Giant's Three Friends. Well....it's indispensable.

    I've always loved the 'farty' sound of a baritone sax....and it's a nice smell...not stinky ! :D

    After Octopus (last w/Phil Shulman)...I really DO miss his contributions.....and was he the baritonist on WAD ? I'd think so...maybe however it was Derek.

    The ONLY negativity with "Working All Day" is....well.....

    working all day !!!!!!!!!! :cussing:

    I remember seeing the 'ad' for 3 friends on the inner sleeve's of some Columbia albums I had in '72 - '73. It was before I'd even heard them...but that picture of the Giant always enticed me. First US release by them I believe...or had Aquiring the Taste come out on Vertigo here yet ? Hmmmmm....Neat how Columbia used their artwork from their first UK release for the jacket, of which I never had. I got the UK artwork with my first copy of 3 friends as an import.

    First is original UK artwork for their first album (self titled) on Vertigo, second their US release of 3 Friends on Columbia, then the UK original of 3 Friends on Vertigo.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    dennis the menace likes this.
  16. I agree. Three Frends is that be of my favorite albums. The cover, not so much (the U.S. cover with the giant from the debut is better)

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